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Reservations give restaurants the capability to select the most profitable mix of customers and help them better control their time. Reservations are not without problems because of the uncertainty associated with customers honoring their reservation and with the uncertainty associated with the length of time that customers will use the service. Many restaurants have developed policies to handle these uncertainties; the question is how customers react to such policies. An online survey on customer attitudes towards restaurant reservation policies was conducted in the United States. Respondents considered table-holding policies and credit card guarantees to be the most acceptable and fairest of the five policies considered. Entire party seating policies were viewed in a mostly neutral manner, while respondents had a mixed view of maximum duration policies. Short-show policies were considered to be the least understandable and acceptable. In all cases, customers who were more familiar with a policy were more likely to consider that policy to be acceptable and fair.


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© Palgrave Macmillan. Final version published as: Kimes, S. E. (2011). Customer attitudes towards restaurant reservations policies. Journal of Revenue and Pricing Management, 10(3), 244-260. Reprinted with permission. All rights reserved.